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Suspected Pentagon shooter in court on car theft charge

Monday - 9/12/2011, 3:38am  ET

Melaku.jpg
Yonathan Melaku currently faces four counts related to shootings at the Marine Corps Museum in Quantico and the Pentagon. (Photo courtesy of Loudoun County Sheriff's Office)

Neal Augenstein, wtop.com

WASHINGTON -- The man charged with firing shots at the Pentagon and other military targets plans to plead guilty to unrelated state charges in Loudoun County next month.

Yonathan Melaku, 22, of Alexandria plans to plead guilty Monday in Loudoun County Circuit Court, where a plea agreement is scheduled in his grand larceny case.

Melaku was indicted last month. He plans to plead guilty to two counts of grand larceny for stealing from cars. Four similar counts were dropped.

Melaku is suspected in a series of overnight shootings at military facilities beginning in October 2010. He currently faces four counts related to shootings at the Marine Corps Museum in Quantico and the Pentagon.

Nobody was injured in any of the shootings.

Melaku was arrested last month after police spotted him in Arlington National Cemetery after dark acting suspiciously.

Federal prosecutors say they have a videotape of Melaku which shows the former Marine reservist shooting a gun out a car window near the Marine Corps Museum. In the video, prosecutors say Melaku describes the shootings.

Melaku's attorney, Robert May, has not speculated on a motive, but says Melaku does not have a grudge against the Marines.

Peter Carr, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, says once Melaku is released from state custody, he will make his first appearance in the Alexandria federal courtroom in connection with the shooting charges.

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(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

(Copyright 2011 by WTOP and The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)